Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare have announced the appointment of Michael Hurt as their new head of Memory Care.
Having taken his position on January 4, Michael is now advising on all aspects of dementia care, including training for team members, enhancing dementia-friendly environments and supporting colleagues to deliver best practice in care.
He is also set to lead on the introduction of new models of care to the benefit of residents across each of the organisation’s 46 care homes.
Michael’s ambition to work within the care sector can be traced back to when he was three years old after he spent six weeks in hospital with a fractured femur.
He later developed a specific interest in mental health as a teenager following the completion of a school project on this topic which, combined with spending time with his grandmother and growing fond of stories from older people, set in motion his desire to join the industry.
After qualifying as a nurse, Michael specialised in Old Age Psychiatry and has since remained in the industry for over 36 years.
Over the course of his career, he has worked on wards, in day hospitals, in residential care homes for those living with dementia, and also as a community mental health nurse.
He went on to qualify as a Specialist Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Independent Prescriber where he responded to urgent referrals, many of which were in care homes. Then, in 2009, Michael became a Commissioner of Dementia Services and was employed as Head of Older People and Dementia at Walsall Council and Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group.
Here, Michael developed and delivered new practices to improve the quality and responsiveness of existing services. His work went on to be recognised in eight prestigious national case studies, including in the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, NICE, NHS England along with other requests to Chair and speak at national conferences.
Michael says that his vast experience has allowed him to be the “calm one in the room” and offer valuable support to others. This experience also means that he is rarely surprised and has developed the emotional resilience to not worry which, he says, rubs off on others and helps to improve the confidence of his colleagues.
Speaking of his initial experiences of Sunrise and Gracewell, Michael said: “I have met some very skilled team members working in dementia care and they are really dedicated to delivering any further improvements in the quality of care. There are also some very good working relationships between operational and quality team members, and I am surrounded by exceptional subject matter experts which I can learn from.”
Looking ahead to his tenure, Michael says that although Sunrise and Gracewell are “industry leaders”, he would like to focus on further improving the understanding and confidence of all team members involved in dementia care.
Michael said he is also excited to introduce environmental improvements and new approaches, while ensuring that any changes are supported by evidence and can deliver a demonstrable improvement to the lives of residents.
Finally, asked what his aims and ambitions are for Sunrise and Gracewell, Michael said, “this bit is easy. I want Sunrise and Gracewell to be the best dementia care provider.”